High School Bowling: Butler boys set to defend state title

Coach Jeff Rezabek can’t say for certain, but he thinks his Butler High School boys bowling team is the best in the state in academics. This weekend in Columbus, the Aviators go for more state accolades.

Butler returns to Columbus in an attempt to defend its Division I bowling state championship Friday at Wayne Webb’s Columbus Bowl. The D-I girls bowling tournament follows Saturday.

The Aviators, who return three bowlers from last year’s title team and make their fourth straight appearance, enters state with the second-highest score from the district meets. Butler rolled a 4,396 after six Baker games and three individual games to finish second at the district meet behind Centerville’s 4,514.

»RELATED: Thursday’s high school roundup

“I think they want to have their own identity from last year,” Rezabek said. I think that’s the motivating factor. People around the state discounted Vandalia Butler because of the loss of some individuals. These boys are making the statement, don’t forget about us. We’re pretty good bowlers, too.”

One of those individuals graduating after last season was two-time individual state champ Drew Sacks. The Aviators took a few frames to settle into their roles this season after being able to rely on Sacks.

Senior Elijah Walters led the Aviators with his 651 at district, good for 27th overall. Senior Ben French (643), junior Kyle Seelbaugh (627), senior Will Yeary (615) and sophomore Adam Jacobs (481) rounded out the team.

“Throughout the year we relied on two of our seniors, Ben and Will,” Rezabek said. “I will say with Elijah, (senior) Ian (Jacobs) and Adam, they have really made this team into a state contender. It’s a little bit different. You could rely on somebody last year. This team relies on each other.”

The bowling team – which also includes junior Dominic Fiori and sophomore Dillon Gross – boasts a 3.8 grade-point average. French is a National Merit Scholar and several of the bowlers are on the school’s Academic Challenge team.

“We have such a great group of kids,” Rezabek said. “Their academics is probably more stellar than their bowling.”

Centerville makes its seventh appearance in the OHSAA state tournament’s 14-year history, and fifth in the last six years. The Elks, whose highest finish is second in 2008, were led by sophomore Brendan Salo’s 687 at district for seventh overall. Senior Max Borneman (665) and junior Ian Dobran (662) also rolled 600 series on a team that features four two-handed bowlers and one traditional one-hander.

Elks’ coach Andy Parker said speed and angle control will be key with the oil pattern used for state. The Elks should be in contention. In addition to that runner-up finish they’ve also finished third another two times.

Sidney’s boys return to state for the second time (2016) and enter with the fourth-best score from all the districts. The Yellow Jackets boast depth with five seniors among the seven regulars, including Miami Valley League bowler of the year Jaxon Rickey.

Tipp senior James Ridgeway is the Red Devils’ second state qualifier, joining 2015 individual state champ Ryan Rittenhouse. Ridgeway, who bowled better on the road than at home this season, finished third at district with 704. He’s one of seven bowlers to roll a 700 series at district.

Troy junior Brayden Ganger rolled 685 at district to claim the fourth and final individual qualifying spot. His average after sectional was 190, but he rolled two 235 games and a 215 to advance.

Troy’s girls qualified for the sixth straight season after finishing fourth at district. The Trojans have one senior (Adara Myers), three juniors and two sophomores. Sophomore Kayleigh McMullen (615) and junior Jami Loy (614) paced the Trojans at district.

Fairborn qualified for state behind two sophomores and three freshmen. Sophomore Natalie Hanson’s 656 led the Skyhawks’ fifth-place finish at district.

Miamisburg senior Maddie Ginn is the first individual qualifier for the Vikings, but the team qualified in 2018. She finished 12th at district and wants to crack the top 10 at state.

Northmont senior Bella Schenck grabbed the final qualifying spot at district by three pins to become the Thunderbolts’ first girls state qualifier

Lebanon junior Hannah Rearick is the third Warriors’ girl to qualify after steadily improving through her career. She finished her freshman year with a 140.2 average and boosted it to 184.9 this season. The school record is 193.2.

State Qualifiers


CENTERVILLE: Max Borneman, senior; Anthony Conty, sophomore; Ian Dobran, junior; Max Hamrick, junior; Zach Hinkle, senior; Wally Jaber, senior; Andrew Moenter, senior; Brendan Salo, sophomore. Andy Parker, coach.

SIDNEY: Kaden Abbott, sophomore; Drake Cromes, senior; Logan Finke, senior; Harrison Fisher, senior; Jarred Kirk, sophomore; Brodey Morrow, senior; Jaxon Rickey, senior. Trent Knoop, coach.

TIPPECANOE: James Ridgeway, senior. Eric Wagner, coach.

TROY: Brayden Ganger, junior. Doug Stone, coach.

VANDALIA BUTLER: Dominic Fiori, junior; Ben French, senior; Dillon Gross, sophomore; Adam Jacobs, sophomore; Ian Jacobs, senior; Kyle Seelbaugh, junior; Elijah Walters, senior; Will Yeary, senior. Jeff Rezabek, coach.


FAIRBORN: Emma Boyd, junior; Kristen Bowman, junior; Megan Cole, senior; Samantha Eichman, freshman; Natalie Hanson, sophomore; Sammi Laprarie, freshman; Tessa Shearer, sophomore; Morgan Woods, freshman. Eric Mrenak, coach.

LEBANON: Hannah Rearick, junior. Ron Volmering, coach.

MIAMISBURG: Maddie Ginn, senior. Doug Smith, coach.

NORTHMONT: Bella Schenck, senior. Brian Beighley, coach.

TROY: Kaitlin Jackson, junior; Jami Loy, junior; Kayleigh McMullen, sophomore; Adara Myers, senior; Kylie Schiml, sophomore; Hope Shiltz, junior; Morgan Shilt, sophomore. Rob Dever, coach.

About the Author